News and notes from around the interweb:
- Lufthansa launches Frankfurt – Austin effective May 3. It still wouldn’t surprise me to see Delta or Air France announce Paris service given Delta’s expected ramp up in the city — next year’s addition of 9 new gates (37% increase) will be huge for what’s already the fastest growing airport in the country by passengers.
- The Economist on seat size regulations.
There is good reason to believe that the bill will backfire and hurt the flyers it is meant to protect. If it sets seat pitch above the smallest levels employed by some airlines, passengers across the industry could end up paying more to fly. Gary Leff, a travel writer, makes this point persuasively on his blog, View From the Wing. Right now, the smallest seat pitch on American carriers is 28 inches (70cm) on ultra-low-cost airlines such as Spirit and Frontier. Travellers choosing to fly with these airlines know they are in for a cramped experience. But they fly with them anyway because of the low prices on offer. Meanwhile, legacy airlines such as American, Delta and United have been forced to reduce some of their own fares to remain competitive with these no-frills rivals.
- A United flight attendant talks about the airline finally merging United and Continental crew on Monday. It’s incredible this merger still isn’t done.
- Fuel surcharge scam: Lufthansa jacks up their already-high fuel surcharges and these are largely just a way to extract revenue from frequent flyers redeeming miles for ‘free’ tickets.
- “United’s President Scott Kirby says that it’s like buying a concert ticket where you pay more to sit closer to the stage. Unless the pilots are going to open that door and play some guitar, then this is an absurd comparison.”
- Southwest vs. American: the launch of Southwest Airlines in the 1970s. (HT: Jonathan W.)